Hoteling (or hotelling) is a method of supporting unassigned seating in an office environment. It is similar to hot desking, and is sometimes confused with it, since both methods support unassigned seating. Hotelling is reservation-based unassigned seating, whereas, hot desking is reservation-less unassigned seating.
Term coined by BOSTI Associates in Buffalo, NY in 1990.
How it works
Hotelling systems can vary from basic to high tech. The system generally works better when they are merged with the overall technology of the firm. Basically, the company uses a piece of software which keeps track of all of its resources. When employees arrive at work in the morning (or log in from home via the company intranet), they access the hotelling reservation software and log in using their unique user ID and password. They can then either reserve spaces by their name/number or, in some systems, by looking at a blueprint of the office and visually selecting a workspace. Once the reservation process is complete, a number of functions may be performed by the system including the routing of phone service to the workspace, the notification of an office "concierge" who prepares the workspace, etc. With many systems, workers are required to "check-in" through a terminal connected to the reservations database as they arrive at the office location.
Who uses it
Hotelling started and continues to predominantly appear in customer representative and consultant-based companies. This is because most of these companies' employees spend the majority of their time away from the office; thus, reducing the amount of office resources they need to occupy on a regular basis. This allows large firms to utilize the concept of hotelling. Although hotelling started in consulting companies this does not mean that it is limited to these companies.